Part of my job is to try out applications, tools, networks and such so I can tell my clients if they’re worth the learning curve or a waste of their bandwidth. Frankly it’s a lot of fun and I find some really cool stuff. I also find a lot of stuff I wouldn’t suggest you waste your time on. When Chris Turititzin from Momentus Media told me about One True Fan I thought I’d give it a spin.

At first I thought it was yet another recommendations extension for my browser. You visit a site and you have the option to share it on Facebook and/or Twitter from the bottom of the page. Big deal right? I mean, who doesn’t have a share button on their web site or in their browser somewhere already?

Ah, but here’s the difference grasshopper. One True Fan lets you see who else has been on that page and what they’ve recently shared. Not only do you get a bigger picture of who is visiting a site or reading a particular blog post, you get to wander around and see where they’ve been recently and thought was important enough to share too. VERY cool way to find relevant content and see what people are thinking about.

In addition you can view a log of the pages you’ve shared, earn nifty keen patches (OK, I know nobody really cares) and add friends and see what they’re sharing and visiting too. There’s a gaming aspect to it, but I don’t use it for that, for me it’s purely exploratory and social.

Don’t worry, you can turn it off whenever you want to, so sites you don’t want to share don’t show up in your stream.

SO, how to make it useful?

First you have to install it. Here’s where you can get it and instructions to include it on your site or blog as well– One True Fan.

  • Add the widget or plugin to your site so even if people don’t have the browser plugin you can still share who’s been there with them.
  • Take a look at your own blog posts and see who’s been there. I’ve found quite a few times that people shared my posts and I never saw it in my Twitter stream. Now I can respond to those posts, find out what else that person is sharing and add them to my network, follow up with a direct comment or go read their blogs and learn more.
  • When you’re reading a blog post or a page you like you can share it with your networks right from the bottom of the page. Then take a moment to find out more about who else has been there and what they’ve shared. As you go down this path it’s quite likely you’ll find a thread of information related to the same topic.
  • Use One True Fan as a bookmarking tool. You can go back through your shares just like you used to do with Delicious. I think there’s some SEO potential here. Time will tell?
  • Share the love. If somebody is a regular reader on your blog what can you do for them? Share their posts, tell your friends about what they do or (gasp) call them up and ask ‘em out for a cup of tea. Now go forth and be social.